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Green Hill houses 1

The houses at Green Hill are at various stages of completion, and some of them have not been worked on for weeks. (IWN photo)

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Some clients of the Housing and Land Development Corporation (HLDC) are doubtful that the state-owned company will complete their houses in Green Hill by month end, four months later than scheduled.

In the meantime, the homeowners are finding it very difficult to meet their financial obligations as they are being forced to pay rent, in addition to the mortgage on the houses that they are yet to occupy.

“Mr. Charles, my landlord is waiting. Do you understand what I have to say? Today or tomorrow, [If] I am kicked out in the street, where do I have to go? Where does my child have to sleep? It is not my fault that I am still living in the people’s rent house. It is the fault of HLDC,” one woman told General Manager of the HLDC, Elvis Charles, in a meeting last week.

“You are living somewhere, you have to pay rent, you are paying interest, then the banks are charging you based on the timeframe that you gave, and you did not meet that deadline, then they start taking mortgage; nobody is saying to you well, ‘Okay, we are going to extend,” another woman said in the closed door meeting, a recording of which was obtained by I-Witness News.

“I informed my landlord ahead of time that by the end of August we should be out of their property.  Since then, I have packed up my entire house. I am living now out of boxes and barrels. … We are sleeping in the living room on the floor on mattresses. … My rent and my interest payments are equal at this point in time,” one man told the meeting.

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“I have not been able to pay my interest payments for the last couple of months. My interest right now is backed up — $3,285.50. I know the figure because I look at it every day mounting up,” the man further said at the meeting, which was also attended by chair of the HLDC board of directors, Beresford Phillips.

Some homeowners complained that they were supposed to move into their houses in August, but those homes remain incomplete.

I-Witness News visited the site on Sunday, and saw houses at various stages of construction, including several where the ground floor was yet to be cast in concrete.

And while Charles told the meeting that workers were trying to paint some of the houses as soon as possible, Phillips could not tell seven clients, whose houses were least advanced, when they could expect their houses to be complete.

Waiting for material & CWSA

The houses form part of the government's housing project in Green Hill. (IWN photo)
The houses form part of the government’s housing project in Green Hill. (IWN photo)

Charles told the meeting that the HLDC was dealing with the government to finish purchasing of material to complete the houses.

The houses are being built under the government’s housing initiative, and would-be homeowners negotiate mortgages and disburse the money to the HLDC, which then builds the houses.

Charles explained that the state-owned Central Water and Sewerage Authority (CWSA) has advised the HLDC that it will not be able to connect water to that section of the housing development until January.

He, however, said he told the CWSA that the HLDC would like homeowners to move in by Christmas.

In the meantime, Phillips is suggesting that the HLDC provide the homeowners with water tanks.

“Because Water Authority made it clear that they are unable to do the work before next year January,” he said.

He explained that the CWSA has said that it has used all of its pipes at Argyle International Airport, which is expected to be “substantially complete” by the end of this year.

Related: Rain affecting progress of Argyle Int’l Airport, gov’t says

But while the HLDC officials were talking about the painting of houses and the installation of water tanks, a female at the meeting said she wished her house were so far advanced.

“Because right now, all I am seeing is columns and dirt,” she said, adding that he house was one of seven at this phase of construction.

“Nothing has been done for weeks. The columns went up and that was it,” another female told the meeting in reference to the seven houses.

Charles said that it will be “impossible” for those houses to be finished by the end of the month.

He told the meeting that the HLDC has met with contractors, paid them, and bought cement and steel to cast the floor of the seven houses.

But a female at the meeting noted that the contract homeowners have with the HLDC says that the house will be constructed within six to nine months.

She said that while she understands that there will be unforeseen developments, it is also reasonable to expect “ decency and courtesy” from the HLDC.

“No one has said anything to us,” she said, suggesting that the HLDC should be frank about when completion is expected.

She said that the HLDC met with homeowners recently and she was not informed.

HLDC ‘hurrying to get things in place?’

Another woman accused Charles of giving the impression that the HLDC ought to be commended for trying.

“That is always the attitude,” she said, and went on to ask if the HLDC was not supposed to make provisions for electricity and water when they first decided to build houses at the area, where other houses have been built in the past under the same programme.

“Why only now you are hurrying to get things in place?” the woman asked.

“[It’s] not that we are hurrying to get things as if they were never done,” Charles responded, adding that the HLDC has been in “constant negotiations and discussions” with CWSA and the state-owned power company, VINLEC.

Charles said that the HLDC wrote the CWSA early regarding the water connection, but pointed out that writing does not mean that the connections will be done immediately.

But homeowners asked why should they believe, in light of the long delay, that the water connections will be made by January.

“… because that’s what they said,” Charles responded, adding that the CWSA has said the connection can’t be made until January because they have run out of water pipes.

Cutting corners to survive

The HLDC has made it clear that some of the houses will not be finished for the end of this month. (IWN photo)
The HLDC has made it clear that some of the houses will not be finished for the end of this month. (IWN photo)

“Do you know how many corners I have to cut just to try and survive? Every time people come here, we are just being filled up with empty promises,” a woman responded.

“You come, ‘Oh, you’re getting your house [in] the next three weeks; let’s be optimistic.’ Three weeks come, you send a letter, ‘You are getting your house end of October.’ The end of October comes, nothing. Today, we are in a meeting, the 6th of November, you are telling us something else again for end of month,” she said.

“And when it comes to your children, you can’t cut corners,” another woman chimed in.

“It’s as if the HLDC should be applauded for everything that they are trying to do and we should be grateful for it. I am not going to hide my emotions anymore. I am upset; I am absolutely upset. Every time you are called to this building, it is to receive bad news. It is never to say that for surety this is what is going to happen. ‘We are trying to see if’,” she said.

“Almost three months ago, my house had one window. Today, it still has one window; no balusters. I don’t know what is going on because nothing has been done. I am wondering if I am going to get my house with the next seven who are started… I am already paying a thousand plus,” she said.

A man told the meeting that he is trying to be calm as he understands that the resources of the HLDC were stretched after the Christmas Eve flood last year.

Related: Gov’t builds 5 houses on disaster site (+Video)

But he noted that homeowners were told that their houses will be finished by the end of July.

The houses are at various stages of construction. (IWN photo)
The houses are at various stages of construction. (IWN photo)

He said that every time he visits the house, he concludes that it will not be finished when the HLDC says it will be.

“I can live with that. My wife is a hothead; she can’t live with that, and that is why she is not in the meeting, because, had she been here, it would have been a totally different thing.”

He told the meeting that at a meeting on Sept. 25, the HLDC said the house would have been completed in three weeks.

“In that meeting, the HLDC said it would see how comfortable it can make homeowners, because it realise that they are paying both rent and mortgage.”

The man said that because he works at a financial institution, he gets “a little leniency in terms of I could decide not to pay my interest and I could pay my rent…

“I have that leeway, but that is not the same for other homeowners. What will happen, as soon as their salaries go in, the bank will take their money. So most of them will be backlogging on their money,” he said.

‘I apologise’

Phillips told the meeting that he is  “upset” with the CWSA, and while the HLDC has no control over the situation, it is accountable to the homeowners.

“I am feeling it for you, and I am committed, once I am involved, to finding solutions to the problems,” the HLDC chair said.

Homeowners demand, receive apologies from HLDC for Clare Valley fiasco (+Video)

Phillips further said he will not duck the issue of compensation.

“I am not a person who duck and run from things. I will tell you it is still heavily on the agenda,” he said, but added that the HLDC board did not complete its discussion of the issue at its last meeting.

“I understand you are paying a mortgage, … and to pay rent. You would have budgeted yourself based on your expectations. Because obviously, you would expect us to deal with your situation in a particular way, based on the contract…

“Again, I, on behalf of the Corporation, I’d like to apologise,” Phillips said.

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14 replies on “HLDC clients paying mortgage and rent while waiting for houses”

  1. This project started out with the wrong intentions, for the wrong reasons. This is a project that was started for political reasons not social reasons. The people buying these homes were being bought and cultivated as ULP voters, nothing more nothing less.

    The government could not give a damn for them or about them as people, they only see them as purchased and captured voters, X scrawlers.

    The government should not be building these kind of middle class homes, this type of home should be built by the private sector.

    Government should be building low income and no income homes. The government should be concentrating on social housing for people living in slums and board houses, and thos that need rescuing from situations. Rescuing from situations where government has failed to put in river defences after being warned of the consequences for thirteen years and houses have been lost to flood. To say nothing of the recent loss of life that can be laid squarley at the door of the government, and in particular the prime minister.

    Instead they are chasing votes and building crap houses to such low specifications that in a few years time, if not already these homes will be blighted and worthless.

    What is happening to these people is the responsability of the government who should be picking up the extra payments, interest and rents that they are paying, its a disgrace to treat them only as X scrawlers for the next election.

    But I must say the home buyers involved are stupid for putting up with such crap, and allowing themselves to be blinded by politics.

  2. The HLDC should be sued for not completing these people home on the time specified.
    in addition to that they must be paying the rent for these people after the due date have passed and they have not completed there house cause its very difficult for these folks to be paying rent and mortgage.

    1. You must be living in the diaspora to believe that HLDC can be sued for tardiness.

      Also, keep in mind that these are all government supporters who, while they may bark from time to time, will hardly bite the hand that feeds them.

      1. Mr. David I would have you to know that a number of the homeowners at green hill are not politically affiliated. I would know this because not only am I one of home owners but I also know the majority of the other home owners. Furthermore it is rather obtuse of you to have the belief that because one supports a particular political party that one would not call a spade a spade. That may have been the way that people followed blindly behind parties in the past but I would like to believe that the modern party supporters are way more enlightened than that. By the way, just to let you know that one of the homeowners is very close ties to the leader of the opposition. So kindly refrain from making this a political issue. This is about a social issue that affects citizens of this great nation.

      2. Andre, in what way is SVG a “great nation,” as you claim? Surely not because the government has made the people so dependent on the nanny state that people with money, jobs, and credit rating that allows them to obtain a mortgage loan can’t even muster the fortitude to build a house on their own, even if this means building one room at a time, something that many ambitious and hardworking Vincentians continue to do.

        We must learn to throw off the chains of mental slavery and stand on our own two feet. A government that is prepared to do everything for you is one that will never allow you to do anything for yourself.

  3. This is what you have to expect when you put your faith in big government in backward countries.

    As I have repeatedly said, the government should not be in the business of building houses for people. The government should be in the business of putting in place policies that will allow people to prosper so that they can manage their own lives.

  4. Concerned citizen says:

    Mr. Chance, I congratulate you on your reporting of these housing issues, both at Clare Valley and Green Hill. The HLDC is ‘ducking’ their responsibility and yes i agree with one of the homeowners, the HLDC behave as if they are doing you a special favour by allocating you a house forgetting that is the homeowner who has to pay the mortgage. I am sure in your tour of the green hill site, you noted the slope on which the houses are constructed with no retaining walls and proper drainage. Why didn’t the HDLC pay the CWSA and VINLEC for the installation the water and electricity lines at the inception before they started to construct the house. The Honourable Prime Minister should mandate an investigation into the HDLC as it relates to the poor construction of the houses.

  5. concerned home owner says:

    Well if this is the case at Green Hill and we know about the situation with the houses in Clare valley. How long will it take for the person who have already paid for lands and the 1st phase of building amounting to over $60,000 to get their houses? the HLDC has sent a letter to to be homeowners telling them they can’t start building the houses and will let them know at a soonest date. Will this soonest date be next 2 years? To be homeowners are already paying interest on their loan and are given 9months masximum. HLDC a letter can’t comfort the hearts of people who have already invested in a home. What if the ruling ULP party looses election, what is going to become of these homes that you are suppose to build? People need answers and you are not giving any right now.

  6. Patrick Ferrari says:

    When the government build houses, the people pay for them.

    When the government falters and corrects their mistakes, the people pay for that.

    If you sue the HLDC, the people will pay for that too.

    Who says there are no free lunches?

    Under those conditions, Mr C. ben-David, the Government SHOULD always be in the business of building houses.

    The government gets all the praise and votes that goes with building houses and correcting the mistakes. And they don’t even have to touch the war chest.

    The easiest thing in life is to spend somebody else’s money. It’s free.

  7. Where is Jomo? These are the government blunders he should be looking at. Jomo is looking at reparation while these people are suffering under the same strain of the reparation disease. Is this how you intend to represent people by keeping your mouth shut because of party affiliation? The people come way before the party. If you haven’t learned that by now, then don’t go asking for their support.
    Jomo please check out the contract to see if the home owners are protected. There has to be some protection for owners, especially if they negotiated the mortgage. Why are these people accepting excuses while they are saddled with rent and mortgage payment? Now you have me wondering what advice you gave to the people at Clare Valley, when you attended that meeting. Did you examine the contracts and if you did, were there any protection for those home owners and others who may fall into this same trap?
    What kind of mortgage contract these owners have with the bank? Why is there a delay with funding to complete the construction? It appears that the bank passes the money to HDLC and it disappears. Someone or group must examine the records of HDLC to ensure there is no hanky-panky taking place. This entire thing needs some investigation now. There is something in the mortar besides the pestle. The home owners should also choose the builder and get HDLC out of the way.
    The government is trying to say that it’s building homes for home owners, but that’s not the case. The people still have to pay the mortgage and all other expenses. […]It’s not fair and the banks should not give mortgages to people who can’t or don’t qualify. The bank should also ensure the homes are built to a specific plan, so homes won’t end up with problems like those in Clare Valley.

  8. I have said it and I will say it again, the thing is nothing but a bill on tax payers. No one is left holding the bill if anything goes wrong but us. It’s a perfect scheme where profits are shared out, and loses and put on the backs of tax payers.

    The ULP is always boasting about building houses but most people don’t know that most of the houses are built with people funds. So in a sense they are just being deceptive. They took over the work of the private sector and are acting like it’s a social scheme when in fact it is a business to make money. This is real sick stuff and someone is going to face prison for all these schemes.


  9. concern person says:

    I really feel it for these people, and I know their pain, I know so because I am having the same fight with the HLDC. My house was schedule to start las January hut because of the December floods they could not start until March. And every stage of construction I have had hold ups. Hold ups that went from 1 one week to a months and some. My date of complesion has past, I have seen houses start and finished and my house van never finish. I am not getting excuses about CWSA because the house is being constructed on my land. But am getting all the other excuses…every time there is a new one for material kit getting on my side. It was a battle to cast the floor, then to get the roof, now my hold up is windows and cement,. Every day I call or go in to Mr. Charles and am asked to be patiant.,well I am out of patient I have told him, where I am living I have to move by the end of November…and we can already see the date of today. Still I can’t see no windows. My kids are one way, unhappy band constantly asking when they are

  10. concern person says:

    I really feel it for these people, and I know their pain, I know so because I am having the same fight with the HLDC. My house was schedule to start last January but because of the December floods they could not start until March. And every stage of construction I have had hold ups. Hold ups that went from 1 one week to months and some. My date of complesion has past, I have seen houses start and finished and my house can never finish. I am not getting excuses about CWSA because the house is being constructed on my land. But am getting all the other excuses…every time there is a new one for material not getting on my site. It was a battle to cast the floor, then to get the roof, now my hold up is windows and cement,. Every day I call or go in to Mr. Charles and am asked to be patiant.,well I am out of patient I have told him, where I am living I have to move by the end of November…and we can already see the date of today.
    Still I can’t see no windows. My kids are one way, unhappy and constantly asking when they are gonna move in. I am almost paying the full amount of my mortgage plus rent…I have bills I can’t pay, and my rent I can no longer afford…I have no way to go by months end and I am paying for a house I can’t move in to…I am embarrassed to look at my land lord and have bills collectors calling ever so often. Its only my faith in the lord that is keeping me. I am in constant stress to the point of not being able to perform to the best at work. So I know how these people feel. Its all of us cry.

  11. This is a message to all those house owners. Don’t believe or even imagine for one moment, that this Marxist led government gives a damn about you. They have your money and some of you still havn’t got your house, now or in the foreseeable future.

    Try and compare your situation with all those land owners at Argyle who had their land taken from for the airport, seven years later, right up to the very moment I wrote this comment, they have never been paid. Unless we choose not to elect the ULP government, the land owners at Argyle and the home buyers can simply whistle in the wind.

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